(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- After seeing the critical need for sustainable funding to support nonprofit arts organizations in Jersey City, Mayor Steven M. Fulop is announcing a plan to let the voters decide on the establishment of an Arts and Culture Trust Fund this November to exclusively support funding for local artists and arts education. The Arts Trust will be funded at a maximum rate of $0.02 per $100 of assessed property value, and will directly benefit local artists and organizations to help them grow and thrive. The program will be mirrored after the success of Jersey City’s Open Space Trust Fund enacted by the Fulop Administration in 2016, of which Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey chaired.
Over the last two years, the Mayor has worked closely with the Jersey City Arts Council to lobby state legislators to implement the mechanisms that would allow long-term arts funding.
“We all believe that in order for arts and culture to thrive here, it is important to build new and sustainable models for funding,” said Mayor Fulop. “That’s why we stepped up to the plate when no one else did, to make sure we can financially support the creative and cultural activities for our residents and children now and for future generations to learn and enjoy.”
Hudson County is one of the lowest funded areas for the arts in New Jersey, and the Arts Trust Fund would be the first time any city in New Jersey would take such actions. Assemblyman Raj Mukherji led the effort at the state level to draft the Assembly Arts Bill to help all municipalities statewide achieve this goal. The bill was passed by both the New Jersey Assembly and Senate before the Governor signed it into law in December 2019.
“Arts are vital to the fabric of Jersey City, and this tax will help our organizations sustain programming,” said Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey. “For less than the cost of a movie ticket, we can support the local arts organizations to help them thrive while providing an array of entertainment opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy, ranging from art galleries to stage productions and more.”
As the most diverse city in the nation, Jersey City is home to a vibrant arts scene that has grown significantly in recent years with cultural programming and events highlighting the city’s burgeoning arts community while honoring its rich cultural history. Per the referendum, the tax revenue will be used directly to support creative and cultural activities which includes performance, visual, and fine arts, music, dance, graphic design, film, digital media and video, architecture and urban design, humanities, literature, arts and culture education, historic preservation, museum curation, crafts, and folk arts.
"Jersey City has long been home to some of the most skilled and progressive artists in the state,” said Heather Warfel Sandler, Chair of the Jersey City Arts Council. “We are excited about the potential to finally support our artists with sustainable funding, and for the public to recognize that the arts are an essential element of society."